Last updated: September 20th, 2014
In such a short space of time it is interesting to see the developments made in social media and how deeply it has affected, not only the way we communicate with friends and family, but also the way businesses, corporations, even governments and emergency services communicate with us.
Not that long ago people started to realise that the internet could be used to catch up with friends and family that they maybe had not seen or spoken to for some time. Emails were a great way to do this but you needed initial contact to get an email address. From there platforms began to grow and sites like Friends Reunited meant that people could reconnect.
The speed with which they have developed is down to the popularity they gained and now sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn as well as phot based networks like Instagram and Snapchat have completely changed how most people interact with each other and that is an extremely valuable commodity.
We can look at the changes Facebook has made and how, though it is a free platform for people to use, it generates huge amounts of money. One way that Facebook is now generating profits is through the way people and companies reach their audience or followers.
The way companies used to be able to reach their public was by setting up ‘pages’ that people could follow. From there companies would then be in a position to post information and content that would be received by all of its followers as well as deal with any queries people might have.
All this changed when Facebook introduced the controversial policy where you need to pay to promote a post. This meant that even if you had 50,000 only a fraction of that would naturally see your post unless the user physically clicked on a setting to see all posts. To reach higher amounts of followers you would have to pay. Below is an example of how the pay scale works for a page with a following of 56,200.
Twitter is another great medium for companies to reach their target audience and an interesting piece of content can then be “retweeted” by your followers. This “retweet” will then be seen by this users followers and the knock on effect can be that your post is seen by a far wider audience. This can result in more followers, increased sales or interest in the content as well as stronger brand awareness.
Making use of hashtags is another great way to target a certain audience as people looking for a certain thing will be able to see your post. Some accounts create a unique hashtag used specifically to build a bit of buzz and allow users to interact with others using the same tag. Recently the TV show Sherlock on the BBC used the hashtag #Sherlocklives to promote the return of the popular series. Getting people to use the same phrase can result in your specified keyword trending which in turn generates valuable exposure to your target audience.
Another interesting site that is proving popular in the business world is LinkedIn. LinkedIn makes networking, customer interaction and even work opportunities more accessible to both businesses and individuals who can search in certain fields.
Companies are now getting quite savvy about their media output and employee social media experts to oversee the setup and often the content that goes out to their followers.
The key to good social media interaction is content that people want to see and are likely to share. Whether it is promotions, brand information, pictures, music or video the better the content the further it will reach.
Resource Box: Gregor Miller is a keen blogger on the development of technology and take a big interest in social media and how it affects communication and business.